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What Is the FTCE?
The Florida Teacher Certification Examinations are designed to measure the content mastery and teaching ability of aspiring teachers in the state of Florida. The FTCE isn't just one exam, but rather a series of computer-based exams that test different areas of knowledge and competency. A Beginning Effective Teacher Candidate (BETC) must first submit an application for certification, after which the Florida Bureau of Educator Certification (BEC) determines which of the FTCE tests the candidate must take in order to teach in Florida schools.
The various tests include the FTCE General Knowledge Test (GK), the FTCE Professional Education Test (PEd), and the FTCE Subject Area Examinations (SAE).
Who Should Take the FTCE?
All prospective teachers who wish to be employed in Florida public schools will be required to take the FTCE. While Florida private schools may not require prospective teachers to be state certified, the FTCE does aim to provide a standard measurement of pedagogical skill that ensures high quality of instruction, so it may be to one's advantage to take the exams even if they're not mandated by an employer.
Importantly, candidates must apply for certification through the BEC and create an account before registering for any of the FTCE tests.
Note that the FTCE is for classroom teachers, while the FELE (Florida Educational Leadership Examination)--which appears alongside the FTCE on the official website--is for educational administrators.
FTCE Test Structure
The FTCE consists of several subtests, and the structure of each varies slightly. The majority are multiple-choice tests. The allotted time and the number of questions vary from one test version to the next and from one subtest to the next. For example, the PEd subtest contains 110 questions and a time allotment of 150 minutes, while the GK Reading subtest contains 40 questions with 55 minutes, and the GK Math subtest has 40 questions with 100 minutes.
There are several tests that include written performance sections (essays) and/or oral performance sections. These include the GK Essay subtest, writing sections of English subtests, and foreign language SAEs (Spanish, French, and German).
Select a practice test to help you prepare for your upcoming exam.
FTCE Registration and Fees
Prospective test-takers may register for one or several of the Florida certification tests up to one year before the actual test day, but be advised that registering for a test is not the same as scheduling a test appointment.
Candidates who have submitted an application for certification to the BEC will first log into their FTCE account to register for the appropriate tests (those determined by the BEC) and then answer some background questions and agree to the testing rules. Then, prospective test-takers will need to go to Open Registration to choose a testing location, date, and time. Finally, candidates must submit payment for the test. Candidates will NOT be scheduled for a test unless they select a location, date, and time and pay the testing fee. At this time, it's best to have your scores sent to your institution or professional development certification program (PDCP).
If you need to cancel or reschedule, you may do so by logging into your FTCE account. Make sure to register for the correct test the first time, since you will have to cancel and re-register if you have to switch to a different test (rather than simply a different test date). Prospective examinees may not cancel or reschedule within 24 hours of their test date.
Registration fees vary, as each subtest within the FTCE carries a different fee. Each of the four General Knowledge (GK) subtests costs $32.50 (a total of $130 for all four).
Subject Area Examination (SAE) fees vary by test. However, most cost $150 for the first attempt, with additional fees for retakes. A few examples include the following:
Spanish K-12 (039): $150
Middle Grades Mathematics 5-9 (025): $150
Elementary Education K-6 (060) (four subtests): $150 for all four subtests (first attempt); $37.50 per subtest (retake)
English 6-12 (013) (two subtests): $150 for both subtests (first attempt); $75 per subtest (retake)
You can find a list of all tests and their corresponding fees and other requirements at the official FTCE/FELE website.
FTCE Test Day Preparation
On test day, test-takers must come prepared with TWO valid, original (not photocopied), unexpired forms of identification. At least one must be US government-issued, and both must include your photo and signature and be printed in English. Identification in a language other than English will not be accepted. Examples of valid identification include:
State-issued identification card
United States military ID (with visible signature)
United States Permanent Resident card (with a visible signature)
Social Security card
Test-takers should NOT bring study aids such as dictionaries, calculators, or other books; pencils, pens, paper, or erasers (these will be provided at the testing facility); food, drinks, or tobacco; weapons of any kind; cell phones, watches, or other electronics; recording devices of any kind; wallets, purses, jewelry, or other personal belongings. Outerwear is permitted, but sweaters are recommended over coats, jackets, and hoodies, as the testing facility may not allow outerwear with hoods, pockets, etc. Personal items may be stored in a secure storage area or left in one's vehicle. Test-takers may not be accompanied by visitors of any kind.
All FTCE tests are pass/fail tests. The minimum passing score is 200, a number that results from the conversion of "raw" to "scaled" scores across all the subtests that the examinee takes.
Multiple-choice tests, such as the GK Math and Reading subtests or the PEd test, are scored first with a "raw score" based on the number of correctly answered questions, which is then converted into a percentage. Candidates must score above a certain percentage in order to pass a given test (the average passing percentage is around 70, but varies by test). Performance-based tests, that is, writing and oral tests, are scored on a point system rather than a percentage. All "raw scores" are then scaled and equated " to ensure fairness across test forms and to generate equivalent raw scores," according to the Florida Department of Education.
On SAEs, English writing sections are scored on a scale of 1-6, or 12 possible total points, while foreign language writing sections are scored on a scale of 1-5 for Spanish and French and 1-4 for German.
The foreign language SAEs also include oral performance sections, which are scored on a scale of 1-6 for Spanish and French, and on a scale of "below intermediate" to "high or above" for German. Candidates must earn a composite score above 200 on the French and Spanish tests and a composite score of intermediate/high on the German test.
Passing Scores for the FTCE
Each subtest has a minimum raw score, i.e., a minimum percentage of correct answers needed to pass. multiple-choice sections have a minimum passing scaled score of 200. Performance tests (written and oral) are awarded points and then scaled holistically.
Candidates must pass all subtests to pass the FTCE. The General Knowledge subtests are scored independently, but candidates must pass all four; likewise, several of the SAEs have independently scored components, but candidates must pass all component exams to pass the exam as a whole.
See the following table for an example of minimum raw scores before scaling.
General Knowledge Subtest
Points/Percentage Required to Pass
1 written essay
8 out of 12 points
English Language Skills
FTCE Score Report
Your score report will appear in your FTCE account and will be reported as "pass" or "not pass". Scores will also be reported to your institution or PDCP if selected at registration.
If you did not pass a given subtest or section, you will receive a numeric score and a detailed performance analysis report that will help you interpret your score by the number of questions you answered correctly. You may retake any subtests that you did not pass 31 days after the last attempt. You may not retake tests that you did pass for three years after the last attempt.
The detailed performance analysis report will not only show you the number of correct versus incorrect answers, but also your performance, as compared to other examinees. The report will help you determine your plan of study, so you may adequately prepare for your next attempt at the exam.
Preparing for the FTCE
To begin preparing for the FTCE, you first need to know which exams you're going to take to determine the content you need to master. Even though you can't know the exact questions that will be on your test, you can obtain a test blueprint, or an FTCE study guide, which will give you an idea of the structure and format as well as the knowledge areas that will be evaluated.
Then, after reading the test blueprint, you should ask yourself how you measure up. For example, some of the skills tested in the GK Essay subtest are the following:
Formulate a relevant thesis or claim.
Organize ideas and details effectively.
Provide adequate, relevant support by citing ample textual evidence.
Maintain a consistent point of view.
So, having read the GK Essay blueprint, you should ask yourself, "Can I formulate a relevant thesis? Can I organize my ideas effectively (and quickly, on a timed test)? Do I need to practice consistency in my writing?" Then, you would want to write a few practice essays and determine where your writing needs to improve. Remember to time yourself so that you can get comfortable writing "on demand."
The same goes for other sections, whether multiple-choice, oral performance, or written performance.
For multiple-choice tests, focus on content knowledge. Try explaining concepts, formulas, or reading passages to a study buddy; if you can teach it to someone else, you can certainly pass a test on it. You may need to memorize vocabulary, formulas, and facts as well. Time yourself so that you can strategically pace yourself on test day.
For oral performance tests (i.e., French, Spanish, and German), it's a good idea to record yourself responding to a practice prompt. Listen to the recording and pinpoint the moments when you stammer, contradict yourself, use filler words, or accidentally slip back into English. Evaluate whether you responded fully to the prompt or if you focused too much on one aspect of a multi-part question. Notice whether you used repetitive language and try to include a wider range of vocabulary. Oral performance tests are an opportunity to show off your language skills, so take full advantage of that opportunity.
The more you practice, the more prepared and confident you will be.
Be honest with yourself so that you can use your study time productively. If you feel confident about the English Language Skills multiple-choice questions, for example, don't spend your time memorizing grammar rules and vocabulary--move on to the Math section and work on unfamiliar math concepts. Anxious test-takers often study content that they already know and skip over content that they need to practice, simply to make themselves feel better about the upcoming test. Although that method is clearly counterintuitive, nearly everyone is tempted to do it, but don't fall prey! Focus on strengthening your weaknesses rather than amplifying your strengths.
FTCE General Knowledge Test
The FTCE General Knowledge Test is the primary Florida teacher exam. It includes four components: the Essay, a written performance test, and English Language Skills, Reading, and Math, which are all multiple-choice tests. Altogether, the GK test takes over four hours; if an examinee takes all four tests together (typical for the first attempt, though retakes may be taken piecemeal), there is a 15-minute break.
Although SAEs are deemed necessary or unnecessary on an individual basis, most Florida educators (with some exceptions) must pass the GK test to teach in Florida schools, as the purpose of the GK is to establish a common foundation of knowledge and competency to preserve the quality and integrity of instruction in Florida schools.
FTCE General Knowledge Math Subtest
The GK Mathematics subtest is 1 hour 40 minutes long and contains around 40 multiple-choice questions. A reference sheet and a calculator are provided for examinees at the testing facility.
There are several different question formats on the math test, including scenarios (case studies), word problems, direct questions, commands (e.g., "solve for x"), and graphics (including figures, tables, charts, and other visuals).
FTCE General Knowledge English Language Skills Subtest
The GK English Language Skills (ELS) subtest is 40 minutes long and contains around 40 multiple-choice questions. It is designed to evaluate command of the English language in terms of grammar, syntax, and vocabulary.
There are several different question formats, including commands (e.g., "choose the best answer below"), sentence completion, passages (examinees must read a given passage whose corresponding questions evaluate reading comprehension), and direct questions.
FTCE General Knowledge Reading Skills Subtest
The GK Reading subtest is 55 minutes long and contains around 40 multiple-choice questions, in either passage or sentence completion format. Whereas the ELS subtest mainly measures the examinee's command of English grammar, the Reading subtest measures reading comprehension in a more thorough, in-depth way.
For example, the passage questions on the ELS subtest are based on short passages and evaluate one's understanding of proper syntax; the Reading passages are much longer, and the corresponding questions evaluate one's understanding of themes, concepts, and details.
FTCE General Knowledge Essay Portion
The GK Essay subtest consists entirely of writing. The examinee is given 50 minutes to write an original essay in response to a prompt. The essay will be evaluated in terms of focus; organization; support; grammar, sentence structure, and usage; and conventions (proper spelling, punctuation, and capitalization). Essays that are plagiarized or obviously derivative will be disqualified as unoriginal work.
FTCE Subject Area Exams (SAEs)
There are 39 different Subject Area Exams (SAEs), and examinees will take only the ones that pertain to the classes they desire to teach in order to demonstrate competency in that specific subject. For example, if an aspiring educator were seeking to teach high school Spanish, they would take the Spanish K-12 SAE. A future educator seeking to be certified in multiple subjects could take multiple SAEs. Most SAEs are 2 hours 30 minutes long and contain somewhere between 70 and 100 multiple-choice questions and may include a written and/or oral performance section (see above). All of the following have official FTCE test information guides (TIGs) on the FTCE NESINC website.
Business Education 6-12
Computer Science K-12
Earth/Space Science 6-12
Educational Media Specialist PK-12
Elementary Education K-6
Engineering and Technology Education 6-12
Exceptional Student Education K-12
Family and Consumer Science 6-12
School Counseling PK-12
Deaf or Hard of Hearing K-12
Middle Grades English 5-9
Middle Grades General Science 5-9
Middle Grades Mathematics 5-9
Middle Grades Social Science 5-9
Physical Education K-12
Preschool Education (Birth-Age 4)
School Psychologist PK-12
Social Science 6-12
Speech-Language Impaired K-12
Visually Impaired K-12
FTCE Professional Education Test (PEd)
The Professional Education test is designed to evaluate the examinee's knowledge and competency in professional conduct, professional development, instructional design and planning, strategies for improving literacy, and for working with English Language Learners (ELLs). The test is 2 hours 30 minutes long and contains around 110 multiple-choice questions.
To prepare for the PEd test, prospective examinees should think through both theories and methods of classroom instruction; understand long-term versus short-term instructional goals; and be able to discuss and design student-oriented learning environments that provide safety, inclusion, cultural understanding, openness, and organization for both in-person and virtual students.
Examinees must demonstrate knowledge of effective teaching strategies for ELLs, including integration of cultural backgrounds and values; and examinees must be able to apply "effective literacy strategies" to improve students' reading comprehension, vocabulary, and critical thinking skills.
Future educators preparing for the PEd should also think through methods of assessment that effectively measure student outcomes (not all assessments are quizzes and exams). The use of technology is particularly relevant in today's discussion of student assessment.
Finally, examinees should have thorough knowledge of professional growth strategies to improve teacher performance and student achievement, and professional conduct (including disciplinary procedures).
Brittany Allen, M.Ed. has over 8 years of experience in education. She has worked as an adjunct professor in higher education, a 5th grade teacher, and a curriculum developer. She has passed the FTCE exam. Brittany holds an M.Ed. in Educational Leadership and a B.S. in Communication from Florida Southern College, where she is currently pursuing a PhD in Educational Leadership.
Frequently Asked Questions
What does FTCE stand for?
FTCE stands for Florida Teacher Certification Examinations. These tests are used by the Florida Department of Education to ensure that teacher candidates possess the skills and knowledge needed to become certified teachers in Florida.
What is the FTCE Professional Education Test?
The FTCE Professional Education Test is an exam that's mandatory for teacher certification in Florida. It examines a candidate's understanding of educational practices and competence in the areas of assessment, reading and literacy, instructional planning, professional development, ethics, teaching strategies, English language learners, and the learning environment.
How hard is the Florida teacher certification exam?
The difficulty of the FTCE can vary from one exam to the next. However, all exams cover information that is taught in teacher preparation programs. With a study plan in place, the exam should be less difficult.